Posted on April 22, 2005

Woman Who Said She Found Finger Arrested

Sandra Gonzales, San Jose Mercury News, Apr. 22

The finger finally has pointed to Anna Ayala — the woman at the center of the Wendy’s chili mystery.

San Jose police confirmed that Ayala, 39, was arrested Thursday night in Las Vegas in connection with the incident but would not elaborate on the details until a news conference today. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Juanita Goode said Ayala was brought in handcuffs to the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas where she was booked on charges of grand larceny and attempted grand larceny.

Ayala claimed to have discovered part of a human finger in her chili at a San Jose Wendy’s restaurant on March 22, leading to weeks of speculation about the origin of the finger.


The arrest is the latest chapter in the case, which has made nationwide news. Over the past four weeks, the cloud of suspicion moved from the fast-food restaurant, which Thursday closed its internal investigation of the matter, to Ayala.

Earlier this month, police searched her Las Vegas home, and Ayala dropped plans to take legal action against the chain.

Ayala and her family claimed police were harassing them during the April 7 search and continued to make those charges before her arrest Thursday night.

“Wendy’s has the money, and they can destroy a little person,” a woman at Ayala’s house who said she was her sister, but declined to give her name said early Thursday. “What if my sister was a white man in a suit? The whole nation would have been sympathetic, but she’s a little Latina.”